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Become a Customer Enthusiasm-Guru!
9 tips for small business owners
© 2004 Peggie Arvidson-Dailey

One thing all successful small business owners have in common is the knowledge
that their business is based on enthusiastic customers. Despite their multi-tasking
titles of bookkeeper, service provider and sales-manager, their most important title
is Customer-Enthusiasm Guru.

Your question, undoubtedly, is how do I find time in my unbelievably over-loaded
schedule to become a customer-enthusiasm guru? Following are a few quick steps
you can take to focus on your customer in everything you do:

1. Evaluate your customer base. Who are your best customers and why?
What similarities do they share? What are their core needs and how do
you solve them? This step is important because every other task relates
to your vision of these top customers.
2. Keep the customer in mind. Before initiating new processes ask yourself
how it will benefit your ideal customers. Whether you are implementing a
new bookkeeping system or hiring help, keep your customer’s needs in
mind. Always prepare your customers for any changes so they know what
to expect.
3. Create systems that maintain customer contact. Use automated e-mail
notes to keep in touch with your customer.
4. Communicate even when you have nothing to sell. This doesn’t mean
take up your customer’s limited time to ‘shoot the breeze,’ but it does
mean -- take time to recognize your customer. Some easy ways to do
this are to send a note of congratulations when your customer is
highlighted in the local press, promoted, or reaches an anniversary (either
personal or professional). Other non-sales communication ideas include
sending an article of interest or offering tickets to sporting event, show or
movie that you know would interest your customer.
5. Ask for feedback and follow through. Ask your customers (either through
a survey, an e-mail request or by a phone call) how you can continue to
serve them -- even better. Then follow-through. When you follow-
through and develop ways to serve your customers better based on their
input they will be enthusiastic supporters of you and your company!
6. Foster trust. If you don’t know the answer, don’t pretend to. If you can’t
provide what they’re looking for, don’t say you can. Introduce your
customer to someone who can solve their problem -- and you will have an
enthusiastic customer for life.
7. Be consistent. Your customers like knowing what to expect from you and
your company. Consistency is as simple as always answering the phone
the same way, using the same tag-line in all your promotional materials
and most importantly, delivering the same outstanding service and
product each and every time your customers hire you.
8. Be easy to work with. Don’t make your customers jump through hoops to
get what they need from you and your company. Make it easy for
customers to repeatedly buy from you – whether by adding a special on-
line scheduling page for repeat customers on your website, or by
providing them with a special access number to order your products. If
your customers can buy from you again and again without a hassle, they
will.
9. Create a customer-enthusiasm training program for anyone who interacts
with customers. As you grow, you will hire other people help you with
routine tasks, such as scheduling, answering phones, providing services or
resending to e-mail. Teach these important team members exactly how
you expect them to interact with your customers. Don’t forget that these
team members are your customers too – treat them that way.

Provided you take the time and discipline necessary to implement them, these steps
will have you on the way to being a customer-enthusiasm guru in no time!

Peggie Arvidson-Dailey is the founder of Pet Care Business University and the Pet-Care Business Success
System™. She is the author “How to Make Your Customers Crazy…about You” and has been a guest on
“This Week in Small Business.” As a trainer and coach she has helped people across the country create
and build the pet-care business of their dreams. Visit http://www.peggiespets.com for more information.



 
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